Two gunmen forced their way into a first-floor apartment on Jordan Avenue in Montoursville early Tuesday afternoon and fired at least two shots at the tenant as he fled through another door to a neighbor's home, from where he called 911, according to borough police.
The victim, a man in his 30s who was not injured, was the intentional target of the gunmen, who remained at large Tuesday night following the shooting that occurred about 12:10 p.m. at 324 Jordan Ave., police said.
"The gunmen came to this house for a specific purpose. They came to pay a visit," borough Police Chief Jeff Gyurina said outside the three-unit apartment house.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
This is the apartment house on Jordan Avenue in Montoursville where a first-floor tenant ran for his life after two gunmen kicked in his back door and fired shots at him early Tuesday afternoon. The victim, who investigators said was the intended target, escaped unharmed. The gunmen remain at large.
"You're not safe today no matter where you live," said a resident of the block, who did not give his name.
"They kicked in the victim's back door and fired at least two shots," Gyurina said. The tenant bolted out his front door as he was being fired upon. His identity was not released.
Before breaking into the apartment, the gunmen fired their weapons from the opposite side of the building.
One bullet went through the living room window of another first-floor apartment, nearly striking an elderly woman who was sleeping on her couch.
"I heard the noise and screamed. I heard bam, bam. I jumped off the sofa. I thought someone was pounding on the walls," the 69-year-old woman said.
"Little slivers of glass" from the window were later found on the couch, just inches from where she was resting, said the woman, who did not give her name.
At first, she was unaware that what she heard was gunfire.
Police later determined that "one bullet went through the window and landed in my kitchen," said the woman, a retired bank employee who has lived in the building for seven years.
"I guess they were after the guy next door. That's all I know," she said.
A resident across street, who also did not want his name published, said he heard two shots.
"When I looked out the window, I saw someone running down the alley. I just saw the back of them. I couldn't see any heads or hands. I couldn't tell race, size or anything," he said.
"I just heard boom, boom. A neighbor told me he heard four shots," the 64-year-old resident, a local contractor, said.
"I never thought something like this would ever occur in my neighborhood," the lifelong borough resident said as he watched more than a half a dozen officers, including state troopers, search the street, yard and alley for ballistics evidence.
The shooting occurred just doors away from where borough Councilwoman Kimberly A. DiRocco and her husband, Ken, live.
"I was sitting on my back porch. I had just let my dog out when I heard three gunshots in succession. Then I heard two additional shots," said DiRocco, a native of the borough who also is running for mayor.
"I saw two people running through the alley (heading south). One of them kind of stumbled," DiRocco said.
She praised the police for their quick response to the scene.
"Montoursville is a very safe community. It truly is. We don't have incidents like this," DiRocco, a native of the borough, said.
That sense of security and safety was shaken a bit.
"This is very upsetting," DiRocco admitted.
"When something like this happens, it's shocking. We have to look at this and find out why is it happening," she added.
The investigation into the shooting is being headed by state Trooper Tyson Havens, a trained criminal investigator.
He said the tenant described the gunmen as black, in their 20s and believed to be 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds.
"We believe they are from Philadelphia and frequent Williamsport," Havens said of the suspects. Anyone who has any information to offer is asked to call the state police barracks at 368-5700.